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Altar Information
Common questions about altars and some answers.

What is an altar?

An altar is a religious structure (usually a small table). What it is used for depends greatly on the religion.

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What is it used for?

Altars have many different purposes. In Neopaganism, it is often used for setting out gifts for or symbols of a particular deity. Witches often use their altars as a workspace, for spells. There are also Sabbat altars, for which people will place symbols of the current Sabbat on the altar.

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How do I set one up?

Setting up an altar is much easier that it might seem. First, decide what you want your altar to be. Is it designated to a deity? Is it a workspace? You can have more than one altar, so don't stress about it too much.

Secondly, get a stool, desk, table, or anything else along those lines. I use one of those small countertop shelving units, set on its front. I know someone who used the top of her dresser. I even met someone who used a plastic bin with a cloth thrown over it.

Once you have the surface, start putting things on your altar. If it is a deity altar, maybe put out a statue or drawing of the deity, some symbols of them, and some things that they like. You can set prayer beads on it, too. For example: say that you're making an altar for Hestia. You could set warm colored candles on your altar to represent hearths, set out a small loaf of bread, and put a figurine of Hestia on it.

If it is a workspace altar, keep it as clean as possible. You don't want anything getting in the way while you're doing a spell. For example: on my altar, I have symbols of the Elements (a cup of salt for Earth, a candle for Fire, a shell for Water, and incense for Air). I also have a small pot for me to pit the incense in, a tambourine-type instrument with a pentacle on it, two knives, and a pendulum. I also have a small cat figurine, because I've always felt a connection to felines and it gives me something personal. You DO NOT have to fit every tool on your altar (I made the mistake of trying when I was very new to Witchcraft, and it did not go well). Have a separate area for all the tools that aren't on your altar. I keep all of mine in a bin close to my altar in case I need them.

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Hope that helps!


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